Surges during acceleration are usually caused by a fault in the car's fuel management system. Hesitations or stumbles during acceleration may also be linked to problems with the car's secondary ignition system, which includes parts such as a spark plug, rotor and spark plug wires. In most cases, replacing the worn out part fixes the problem.
Mechanics go through different steps when troubleshooting a sputtering car. One of these is to test the car's fuel pressure. Fuel pressure ratings vary for different vehicles, starting from as low as 13 psi (for cars with throttle body injection systems) to 55 psi (for cars with direct port injection systems). Such sputtering problems can be corrected by replacing the fuel pump.
Another common cause for a sputtering engine may be a weak or plugged fuel filter. Car engines rely on an even delivery of pressurized fuel, and a plugged fuel filter prevents this. Other possible causes include a plugged exhaust, a malfunctioning transmission, restricted fuel injector or a worn out clutch assembly. Because there are so many possible reasons why a car might sputter during acceleration, it is best to have a car checked by a professional. Early detection of mechanical problems can help stave off expensive repairs.